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14 June 2008

Saturday 14 June 2008 12:15-13:00 (Radio 3)

Tom Service is joined by Bonnie Greer to discuss a new book by George E. Lewis, and reassesses the significance of perhaps the most famous musical of all, West Side Story.


45 minutes

In this programme

Download the complete programme on this week's Music Matters podcast.*

Maurizio Pollini
Maurizio PolliniFew if any of the world's leading pianists have done as much as Maurizio Pollini for the piano music of his own time. He's championed the music of Nono, Stockhausen and Boulez alongside classical composers like Chopin, Beethoven and Mozart. Now in his mid-60s, Pollini's career has gone through all of the phases of the great musician: from teenage prodigy and young firebrand, to a complex musical maturity and now almost mythical status. In conversation with Tom, Pollini discusses piano music of the 20th century, his relationships with leading conductors such as Claudio Abbado, and talks about his latest projects, including directing and playing Mozart concerti with the Vienna Philharmonic.

Hear Maurizio Pollini play Schumann, Chopin and Debussy in Performance on 3, Thursday 3 July at 7pm on BBC Radio 3.

West Side Story
Leonard BernsteinIt's 50 years since the London premiere of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story, now accepted as the most famous and brilliant score ever written for musical theatre. But in the late 50s West Side Story was a radical proposition for audiences, not just in its dazzlingly direct music, but its potentially explosive, youthful subject matter. A panel of West Side Story aficionados, including Edward Seckerson - who was actually at one of those first performances in London - Nigel Simeone and Cliff Eisen discuss how West Side Story has been misunderstood and what new approaches it will need if it's to survive on our stages.

A Power Stronger Than Itself - The AACM and American Experimental Music
George E. Lewis, photograph (c) Miya MasaokaThe Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) was set up in Chicago in 1965 as an organisation for musicians to promote their own performances of their new music. The AACM went on to inspire and include people like the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Anthony Braxton. The AACM became - and still is today - a talisman for avant-garde African-American culture; embodied by one of its slogans, 'Great Black Music'. The history of the AACM is told in a new book, A Power Stronger Than Itself by trombonist, composer and member of today's AACM George E. Lewis; who talks to Tom about the AACM past and present, alongside critic and playwright Bonnie Greer and The Wire editor Tony Herrington.

George E. Lewis, 'A Power Stronger Than Itself - The AACM and American Experimental Music', Pub. University of Chicago Press. h/b. £15

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